By Panos Koupparis
We continue our on-going series of classic miscarriages of justice which have never been put under proper public scrutiny, nor have they been rectified, despite often huge testimony of innocence.
Demuni Raja De Silva is a
Singhalese seaman being held at Her Majesty's pleasure pending
deportation since October 1991.
AnalysisA forensic analysis later showed that there was no heroin in any of the packages. When bail was granted, he stayed with his uncle who was a diplomat at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London. At the committal the charge was amended to attempted importation of heroin and an alternative count was added to the indictment, namely the actual importation of class B drugs. A very small quantity of barbiturates was allegedly found by the forensic analysis i.e. 10% Phenobarbitone and 2% Methaqualone.
The prosecution's case was that De Silva was a courier who had been duped into a "rip-off" and must have believed that the packages actually contained heroin. There was no evidence to support this hypothesis. An alternative count was added in case the first one failed. It was to the effect that he actually imported the "drugs" which the forensic scientists claimed were in the packages.
For this to succeed they had to prove that he knew each package contained a controlled drug although, again, there was no direct evidence of this. the customs and excise conceded that the contents of the packages were "useless and valueless".
The case was complicated by the issue of duress which was raised primarily against count 1. Simply stated; De Silva had claimed that the unidentified person who had placed the packages in the hold in Karachi had threatened him with dire consequences unless he kept quiet and co-operated by showing someone named Tony where they were on arrival in Europe. This issue could not be proved or disproved by either side during the trial. De Silva should probably have received the benefit of the doubt. By convicting him the jury rejected duress as a defence, or so the legal argument goes. In fact their actual verdict shows that they did not understand the case at all.
The TrialDe Silva was tried before Mr Recorder Colin Woodford at Ipswich Crown Court in March 1990. His Counsel was Matthew Farmer. The Judge rejected submissions of no case to answer against count 1 and the inadmissibility of the pre-arrest, interview and translation evidence even when it was clearly established that the Tamil interpreter could not translate words crucial to the defence. At the end of the first trial, which lasted eight days, a juror asked to see the exhibits. The trial was abandoned by the Judge when Customs claimed that the "drugs" were locked in a safe and the key holder was not immediately available.
A second trial was held before the same Judge a month later. It lasted four days. The Tamil interpreter now knew every contentious word. The exhibits were produced, according to Farmer, in their original packages for the jury to examine. The Judge failed to instruct the jury in relation to "alternative" counts and they convicted De Silva on count 1 and 2. A deportation order was also imposed.
InadmissibleThe fact that he was provided with a Tamil interpreter is grounds in itself for challenging the admissibility of the statements. Tamils are a Hindu separatist group constantly at odds with the Singhalese Government of Sri Lanka. De Silva is a Buddhist Singhalese with a brother in the national Army and an uncle in the Diplomatic Service. Tamil and Singhalese are quite different languages, a fact lost on Recorder Colin Woodford. The law requires that official legal interpreters and translators must be independent, politically unbiased and neutral.
Farmer prepared grounds and a detailed advice on the merits of an Appeal against both convictions. Justice Macpherson rejected them and refused Leave to Appeal.
Farmer then prepared a second advice urging de Silva to pursue the Appeal to the Full Court. This was sent to Ralph Haeems and Co., the trial solicitor, on 12 July 1990 but it never reached De Silva. He did not see it until mid-October 1991.
De Silva was now at HMP Wayland in Norfolk. When the refusal notice, form SJ, was handed to De Silva he was asked to sign for it by the prison's legal aid officer. Unknown to him he had been asked to sign an official appeal Abandonment form. The court abandoned his appeal.
By pure chance his case papers were seen by someone with a little knowledge of scientific procedure and chemistry. It was immediately apparent that there was a serious flaw in the prosecution's forensic reports. Initially this was regarded as a simple error or oversight, but recently the full implications of this have become apparent.
De Silva renewed his application for Leave to Appeal before the Full Court within time. He retained a new solicitor local to the prison on green-form legal-aid to assist him. The green-form expired by the time the Court replied that his appeal had been abandoned. A second solicitor also failed to make any progress.
Counsel's OpinionA London solicitor undertook to obtain an opinion from Counsel regarding the fresh evidence to support his application for legal-aid but they asked Stuart Stevens to write a gratuitous opinion where he could not be held accountable because it was free. He echoed Farmer's main grounds against count 1 but he contradicted any suggestion that count 2 might be challenged and ignored the issues raised by the forensic evidence. His opinion was served on the Court against De Silva's wishes and the solicitor quit. The case was suddenly about to be heard so De Silva wrote to the Court requesting legal-aid and drawing their attention to the forensic issue against count 2. He also rejected Stevens' opinion. He did not receive a reply.
The application was heard by Lord Lane, Mr Justice Hutchinson and Mr Justice Mantell on 23 April 1991. De Silva was not represented or brought to the Court. I was present. their Lordships declared the abandonment a nullity and granted Leave to Appeal on the one ground which they had considered. They clearly and conveniently only considered Stevens' opinion. Leave was granted on the no case to answer submission in relation to count 1 and legal-aid for the Counsel only, but no name was entered on the relevant notice.
Demuni Raja De Silva has never received Justice for his ordeal, although he has never stopped seeking it.
The DeSilva Case is featured by Scandals In Justice
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Researchers within the CCO have compiled a dossier on Blair's early life. In particular his days at Fettes College in Edinburgh. A source in the CCO claims that they have 'evidence' that Tony Blair conducted several homosexual relationships with fellow pupils. The dossier is also said to contain further damaging material about a later relationship with a male Labour MP who is now in the shadow cabinet.
The Conservative Research department are highly effective at master- minding scandals and cultivating rumours. The new Head of Research, the illusive Julian Lewis, is no stranger to dirty tricks. In partnership with Edward Leigh MP during the 80's he waged a war of disinformation against the CND which resulted in erroneously cancelled meetings, disruption of CND events and covert pressure on key members over financial or sexual matters.
According to our source, Lewis personally supervised the information gathering exercise against Blair; an operation that has lasted over a year.
Lewis is also rumoured to be a raving homosexual himself. Indeed, it would be most unlikely that he could occupy a position of influence within the CCO if he was not. The Research Department is almost gay to a man. There have been many stories about promotions on the basis of gay sexual favours in Smith Square. Likewise, generally, female employees find that their careers are often obstructed. One former woman researcher in the CCO who is now married to a member of the House of Lords told us: "There's no doubt that there is a very powerful gay network within the CCO starting with Alistair Cooke. I found the experience of working there deeply frustrating and I was encouraged to leave simply because they thought I knew too much. Not only about the prolific gayness, but also about some of their less than legal activities".
Our source in the CCO confirmed that often their methods of research do break the law. "I know of many occasions when we have illegally bugged politicians, usually on the opposition. In fact, a lot of the material in the dossier was obtained through bugging. Mostly, we use freelancers. I was involved with a man called Paul Mercer who was an engineering graduate from Loughborough University and a DIY expert in surveillance."
As we have reported in previous editions, the Head of CCO, Alistair Cooke was from the same ultra right wing gay Peterhouse stable as Michael Portillo. Another prodigy of former Cambridge history Professor Maurice Cowling, Cooke was responsible for creating a trusted network of young ambitious homosexuals within the CCO who would do his bidding. It was he who first embarked on the dirty tricks campaign against Labour, and it will be he who authorises the release of these allegations against Blair and others as the election looms and the Labour Party grooms itself for victory.
PR sharpshooter Max Clifford is well aware of the perils that await the Party he supports. "I suppress as many stories as I promote. I've often picked up the phone to Labour MPs and warned them off a potential scandal. I've heard the rumours about Tony Blair too".
The question is whether Clifford has attempted to quash them. Perhaps, even his renowned PR skills are not enough to diffuse the time bomb waiting to explode under the future Prime Minister.
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Maybe the Queen also had it off with old sods like Anthony Blunt with whom she used to play amongst the Royal artistic archives.
Fellow officers first began to hate the Royal presence when Koo Stark was around.
Koo had a secret love nest on the Isle of Portland, but Andrew also commandeered several suites in the officer's mess to house his staff which included a personal chef, two body guards, a valet, a driver, and an equerry who got up everyone's noes instantly.
His Greek family were friends of Prince Philip's family and at first the connection was purely social, but Mardas, a multi- millionaire, was soon hob-nobbing with the Queen and her family at Windsor. He was asked by the Queen to advise on anti- surveillance devices in all the Royal residences. The Queen had been told to 'de-bug' all her homes. But did he, while he was at it, actually install his own secret bugs?
If he had, for example, wanted to keep sweet with the espionage agencies he merely had to use the search as a cover-up to plant his own devices.
Former employees of Alcom testify that when it came to surveillance, Mardas was capable of anything for the right price. But they are also sure it was Mardas who has advised BOTH Charles and Diana on how to bug the other's calls. Because of this it was feasible that at some stage both sides may leak embarrassing conversations about the other. Neither, of course, knowing Mardas was doing the same thing with both the former spouses.
Wayland Prison has a repairs and maintenance workshop devoted to the Royal lawnmowers. Apparently the grounds surrounding the royal residences, and the other 272 grace and favour dwellings, require hundreds of lawnmowers to keep them in trim. At any given time there are at least ten being maintained at Wayland.
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It caused something of a flutter, but we have yet to get so much as a solicitor's letter over any of these allegations. Right at the top of our dishonour's list was Lord McAlpine, former fund raiser to the Tory party, and one of their die-hard heavyweights.
We named him because we knew at the time that he was under investigation by a police force who had been bought in to find out the complicity of various police officers who were either part of the filthy ring, or involved in extensive cover-ups. We have always alleged, now more so, that the whole rotten affair had a predominantly freemason perspective.
Thatcher asked the cabinet what their advice was in the event of the paedophile allegations becoming public, which at that time they threatened to do. The investigating police had already submitted some reports to the then Director of Public Prosecutions for their 'advice'.
As we had also alleged that members of this body were also involved, we were not at all surprised when the DPP decided there was "not sufficient evidence to proceed with trial" (against the police officers). But at the time, the cabinet did not know that.
There was no further argument that day and very shortly after that McAlpine made an excuse and left. Officially, everyone extolled his virtues. But in fact the whole thing was a classic and devious closing of the establishment ranks to protect an erring member.
Since then McAlpine has begun to creep back into Tory party favour and most parliamentarians seem to have forgotten the furore which could have brought them down.
Our sources claim that much of the slush fund was used to help cover-up the activities of his fellow conspirators in the gay- paedophile ring, and other impending sex scandals. But a new question mark now hangs over the money laundering allegation. Is this where Mark Thatcher managed to 'cleanse' his dirty- dealing money?
As McAlpine was at the time very much under the patronage of the prime minister, it would have been an ideal cover to launder illegal funds through the very offices of the Tory party. Who, at the time, who was ever going to expose such a scandal and invoke Maggie's wrath?
Mark was always "Mummy's little boy" and he could do no wrong.
But how does Michael Heseltine fit into this complex puzzle? We're not quite sure, but when he had his ill-fated heart attack in Venice, he had not only taken his long-time mistress along for a sexy weekend, but had done so to meet McAlpine. Did the builder threaten that, if he was exposed, he would definitely take the government with him? Starting, of course, with Maggie herself?
One thing is for sure. McAlpine, one way or the other, is for the high jump because too many people now know about his rotten habits and business dealings. What can only be estimated is that if he sings how far it will go into putting the final nail in the government's stinking, sinking coffin.
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The Judge and jury did not believe his own version, even though it was put together by some of the most expert and expensive lawyers in that wholly litigational country. Since Tyson has languished in jail, promoter Don King has masterminded more than a million dollars worth of extra litigation to try and get Tyson out, so that King and the other backers can put their greasy hands in the billion-dollar empire a fighting Tyson would automatically produce.
But a couple of things simply don't add up.
In British common law there is a golden rule, which we have quoted before in our Miscarriages of Justice series, and which we quote again:
"It is sufficient for the defence to show, on the balance of probability, that the defendant was the victim of an involuntary, drug-induced psychosis, this establishes an irrefutable defence to any charge, including murder."It just so happens that American law also includes very much the same defence. Tyson for a very long time, dangerously long, had been prescribed overdoses of a drug called Lithium - a 'downer', used when properly prescribed as a form of tranquilliser, which, in small doses, with no other stimulant, works to calm a troubled mind. If it is taken in excess, and is mixed with equally large doses of amphetamines, and then laced generously with almost mind-blowing amounts of alcohol, one thing is for certain: That when Tyson got involved with that sordid scene he was completely insane, absolutely out of control of his own behaviour, logic, sensibilities and probably had no idea before, during or after, just what had gone on. As this is, by and large, an "irrefutable defence", how was it possible for the lawyers not to use it?
Much testimony was given at the trial itself to fully attest and on his trip to Indianapolis, he was described as "a lost soul with a headful of demons." Much was made of the fact that during the period of the incident, before, during and after, (nearly 48 hours of intoxication with no sleep) Tyson's breath smelt like a sewer. he constantly 'popped' amphetamines and drank everything from rum (in a hip flask), to champagne, beer, red wine and whiskey. The female driver during the period described him as "deranged" and "totally out of control". He was rambling, incoherent, "mentally unbalanced" and even Desiree Washington attested that he just "seemed to click" and behaved like an animal.
To be prescribed Lithium the doctor must suppose that you are a manic depressive with suicidal tendencies. If that is proved, it is an incurable condition and the court would be obliged to contain Tyson for 'life'. Or at least an indeterminable sentence in which the champ would have had to pass far more rigorous psychological tests. Despite all his alleged conversions to both Islam and sanity, it might well have not been enough to justify a release if the medical evidence had shown him to be suffering from an 'incurable condition'.
If the doctors did not do this, Tyson can only legally be declared not guilty. The American Medical Council is quite clear on the matter: "This (Lithium) is a drug used as a mood stabiliser in various excited states including mania. It is also used long term to prevent relapse of depression. It is extremely toxic and requires careful and regular monitoring of blood concentrations with appropriate dose adjustments." Articles in the British Medical journal back up this analysis quite emphatically.
In legal terms, therefore, the rape was inconsequential to any proper defence, however brutal or sordid or indeed horribly upsetting to the victim it might have been. Michael Tyson, therefore, should be languishing for an indeterminable time as a mental patient and not a rapist.
But that will almost certainly not suit the King Camp who see the meter running and see the millions rush through as if they were on a fruit machine.
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